Moon's Short Story
An accurate depiction of me, post-realization that my knees would never quite be the same again
One of the cornerstones of the philosophy in creating Moon's House was, has always been, and still remains actively working to prevent injury. Performance is nothing without a strong and safe foundation. But I didn't always have this mindset. Not doing so got me into trouble. Join me on a trip down memory lane. Here's why Moon's House exists in the manner it does today. Every important reason is denoted by this massive red star:
I was THIS CLOSE to having my own jersey... That's right! Before getting into coaching and training the beautiful muse that is the interdependence and singularity of body, mind, and soul, I had my sights set on professional soccer. I had amassed some decent success at the collegiate level, and I was dead set on turning my boyhood dream into a reality.
Barcelona and Manchester United were essentially knocking at my door*. And I was ready to answer!
Until, of course, my body fought back and eventually won, two knees to none.
Who wouldn't want this mean MF on their side?!
My favorite thing on earth was to play soccer. Then, suddenly, at the start of my Senior season, my knees started acting up quite a bit. Mid-season MRIs showed pretty minor lateral meniscus tears, not at all uncommon in power & agility contact sports like soccer.
The choices were:
1) Tough it out ("Be a man!") 2) Get the surgery then and there (surprisingly, people often come back from lateral meniscus scopes in 1-2 weeks) 3) Play the rest of the season, and then get sliced and diced.
I chose Door # 3
It seemed to make the most sense at the time, and in retrospect, I don't think I would have done it any differently. I'm certainly glad that I didn't.
Flash forward to a year after my college graduation. My knees had been surgerized over a year ago, but the reality didn't live up to the hype. I was back in for another surgery on the right knee in just about 2 years after the initial surgery. Long story short, my body never got back to where it was. Had I underwent surgery mid-season, I probably never would have played college soccer again.
That was about the time I had to give up on the dream. I just couldn't reach an equilibrium to be pain-free and be able to perform at a high level. So with the dream abandoned, this overwhelming thought hit me like 65 tons of bricks:
"Well what the hell am I supposed to do NOW?"
*Enter my second favorite thing to do!**
If you've been following closely, you know that "my favorite thing on earth was to play soccer." Well, lucky for me, I had a close second favorite thing: fitness. Through high school and college, I was, by most accounts, a very good SAQ athlete. I excelled on the field, court, and then in strength and conditioning classes with anything speed-, quickness- and agility-related. And while I was always one of the toughest scrappers out there, I was always a very skinny fella. At a certain point, I wanted to change that.
Because chicks like buff dudes
(as reinforced by every men's magazine)
So, like so many other hormonal high school boys, I started going to the gym for what seemed like 3 hours every day. I must have read every dumbed-down article ever written about how to get big muscles quickly. Naturally, like everyone else in my shoes without much direct supervision or guidance, I started lifting like a bodybuilder.
Because big biceps beat everything else
On top of that, I started getting into Olympic lifting and Powerlifting through my high school's strength and conditioning classes, which was a pretty routine requirement for Varsity athletes. All of this was great, and my body certainly did start showing some signs of changing, but it was also likely taking a slow toll on my joints.
Because I was lifting like an idiot
(like so many other hormonal high school boys)
*The problems were many, but largely boiled down to the following:
1) I had no idea what proper technique looked like (and it was very easy to get missed by well-intentioned coaches in S & C classes with 24 other students)
2) I was doing way too much
Nevertheless, I loved the feeling of doing something I couldn't do the week or month before, and I got hooked on lifting. I had an especial penchant for the Power Clean (which could be disastrous if done poorly).
(OK, we're getting closer!)
College came and went, and I continued my love for getting stronger and more powerful. Aesthetics were certainly still important, but my main interests developed into more holistic performance-based training (remember, I still wanted you to see me playing on TV).
Powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting (Deadlifts, Squats, Power Cleans, Bench Presses, Overhead presses) took much of the spotlight in our soccer team's Strength & Conditioning program in college, which I readily got behind. Until my knee surgeries in the final semester of my senior year, a couple days would hardly pass without some type of explosive barbell lift.
*But post-rehab, there came the slow realization that every lift that I used to love kind..of..kept..hurting..my..knees. And this was the big turning point for me... and why Moon's House is here.
It took me a while to finally hang up the boots. When I did, I was upset, frustrated, and certainly depressed. But I also still wanted to be an athletic, vibrant person, not just today, but in 50 years. So I enlisted the continual help of a very important influence in my life: my chiropractor. It just so happens that at the time, he was working closely with a brilliant woman who specialized in movement mechanics.
*Through the next many months and years, they drilled into me the correct way to squat. Turns out I had been stressing my knees and low back for years doing it the way I had been. Go figure.
And so we arrive at the present. My knees are still trouble. They likely always will be, as the connective tissue and cartilage damage does take a toll. But guess what? Through the months and years of finally figuring out how to use my glutes (seriously), they helped me regain what I thought I had lost forever. I can now squat like it's my business (which it kind of is), and I almost never experience any more knee pain with it. My understanding of the human body, its proper functions, and its near limitless capacities continues to fascinate and open new doors for me.
So that's why I'm here, and that's why Moon's House is here. Sure, the love of the lift opened the door to this world as a profession for me. But it wasn't until falling and taking a very long time to get back up (physically and metaphorically) that I realized I could genuinely help people in a way that few others could.
*And that, truly, takes highest priority: Helping people. It just so happens that my strengths and life experience lie in athletics and its many pursuits. Had I been an award-winning Shakespearean actor, I would have likely pursued an acting/teaching career. Helping others is my one true passion and goal; sport and fitness is merely the vessel.
Whether it be preparing young, overzealous athletes for proper life-long body care, or helping educate or re-educate clients' bodies well past their high school glory days to still be able to move and function well throughout the many stages of life, it matters not. The love of the lift remains. The love of improvement is contagious. And the love of watching others excel is downright addictive.
Thanks for blessing me with your valuable time and attention, and for being the amazing human that you are. Let's get better together.
With love from the House,
**Other favorites include reading, guitar-ing, karaoke-ing, outdoors-ing, smoothie-ing, sketching, camping, cracking my knees, complaining about technology, grunting upon standing, laughing at immature TV, and staying incredibly hydrated.